Pune: On a roll with just one defeat in the last six encounters, FC Pune City will look to carry on with the momentum when they take on Kerala Blasters at the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex here on Friday.
Currently place third with 22 points after 12 games, the ‘Stallions’ have their eyes well set on their maiden Play-offs berth. That they have scored 23 goals, which is the joint second-highest after Goa who have netted 27 and conceded just 12 the same as Jamshedpur, is a testimony to the season they have had so far in the campaign.
Their performance has been exactly the demand from head coach Ranko Popovic, who believes in maintaining the balance between both attacks and defence.
“I have always maintained that we need to balance both attack and defence to do well. So yes, we are on a good way, but we are not yet good – we are trying. In football, you have to repeat week after week that what is behind us is nice – but it’s about the future now,” said the Serbian tactician.
It was Kerala coach David James’ debut when the two sides last met and although the game ended 1-1 then, Kerala has not moved a rung above or below. They are seventh on 17 points from 13 games.
The Englishman had a great start with consecutive wins and a draw but has since then lost twice in three matches, with the latest being a 2-1 win against laggerheads Delhi Dynamos.
“Our defeat to FC Goa was tough and left us in a position where we had to win six games in a row so the Delhi win was very important. Confidence in the players was good and it put us one step ahead in the quest to win the remaining games,” said the former Liverpool goalkeeper talking of Kerala’s roller-coaster season so far.
A win here can send Pune back to the top position, one point ahead of Bengaluru FC, who would have played a match less. But the Blasters will hope to get their campaign back on track.